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By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily )
Updated:2016-04-19 08:49:50Comments Print Mail Large Medium SmallAn old house with stone-carved patterns. [Photo by Zhou Fuyang, Li Huihuang and Jie Gang/China Daily]When twilight falls, Hu Qinghuas routine starts. After he finishes work in his rice fields he visits a family in Youdian village, speaking to them about the history of their house and narrating stories about their common ancestors, hoping to persuade them to repair their house, which was built hundreds of years ago.Hu, 63, can trace his ancestry back to more than 20 generations in an ancient village in East Chinas Jiangxi province. All the buildings of Hus village in Jinxi county are ancient houses dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).However, most of the houses are empty. And some are even on the verge of collapse.”Young people move to cities, leaving their parents behind in the village. Its almost empty now,” says Hu.Hus village is one of more than 100 ancient villages in Jinxi. All these villages have traditional houses built also in styles of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There are about 11,000 houses built during both dynasties in the county, according to the local government.”Its like a huge museum of ancient architecture. Its rare to see ancient houses that are mostly in their original forms in such large numbers in China,” says Guo Daiheng, an expert on Chinese traditional architecture.With Chinas modernization, ancient villages are disappearing at a fast pace as residents replace old houses with modern buildings. 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